Burn: A Story of Fire, Woods and Healing (Hardback)
  • Burn: A Story of Fire, Woods and Healing (Hardback)
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Burn: A Story of Fire, Woods and Healing (Hardback)

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£16.99
Hardback 256 Pages
Published: 28/04/2022
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Waterstones Says

An intoxicating mix of evocative memoir and immersive folklore, Burn documents Short's flight from a stressful existence in the city to a centring - if gruelling - life at a charcoal kiln in the West Dorset woods.

I came to the woods over a decade ago. I came to the woods because there was a fire in my head.

On the outside, Ben Short looks like he has it all - a successful career in advertising, a flat in a trendy area of London, an expensive motorbike ... But inside, he's a wreck. Years of suffering with an anxiety disorder and depression have broken him, and his 'creative' career has become sterile and suffocating. A drastic change is needed.

Like his neighbour's rescue hawk, he acts on instinct and escapes the city. For a time, he takes on odd jobs - gardening, hedge-laying and labouring in the Cambridgeshire Fens and in the Devon countryside, trying to find somewhere he belongs. That is until he feels the call of the furnace: a glowing charcoal kiln in the West Dorset woods, where he can re-forge his thoughts, put the years of suffering behind him and start afresh by immersing himself in the ancient ways of woods and fire. He lives in huts and old wagons in the woods, hauling water from wells and foraging for his supper. But this is no idyll - the road is hard, the work back-breaking, the woods dark and brimming with powerful energies.

Exquisitely written and laced with folklore and the history of burning, the right way to lay a hedge and the age-old wisdom of the woods, Burn is a hopeful story of transformation, a celebration of manual work and craft, and a love letter to the English landscape.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 9781529370348
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 360 g
Dimensions: 218 x 140 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Lyrical, moving and never self-pitying . . . a lovely book. - The Times

Short's story is as much about work as it is escape and landscape; he illuminates the value of doing rather than thinking. Beautifully written, Burn is melancholy and hopeful in equal measure. Like taking a forest ramble in changeable weather, reading it leaves you feeling ruffled but alive - Mail on Sunday

An intriguing, touching and beautifully written book, about how it feels to be in a dark place spiritually, to move into the woods but enter an increasingly lighter place, to be practising the ancient skills of coppicing and charcoal burning, to love a dog. - Ruth Pavey

In this candid memoir, [Ben] learns the benefits of living simply . . . above all, Ben discovers the joys of risking everything in the search for personal happiness. - The Countryman

A most excellent read. Destined to become a classic in its field, much like Walter Rose's memoir, The Village Carpenter - Sean Hellman

An extraordinary and powerful book, full of vitality. Every page celebrates the way traditional skills can shape who we are. - Tristan Gooley

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Hardback

“A love letter to another way of life”

Some books grab you and take a hold on, seeping into and tainting everyday, until the last page is reached. It could be fiction or non-fiction, the point is, its message affects your reality.
Ben Short's account... More

Paperback edition
1 similar book recommended
Helpful? Upvote 11

“A beautifully crafted book”

It's always difficult to write a review of a friend's book without being accused of bias, but here goes...

Ben and I share a similar story; Ben in London, me in Bristol. Both of us escaped our city careers... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 10

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